The Florida-based plaintiff claims that Velveeta Shells & Cheese macaroni cups’ advertised 3.5-minute cook time doesn’t account for steps such as removing the packaging and adding water.
A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of Velveeta cheese for more than $5 million, charging that the company’s microwavable macaroni-and-cheese cups are plastered with false claims.
According to CNN, plaintiff Amanda Ramirez of Hialeah, FL, filed the proposed $5 million class action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company earlier this week.
The proposed class action claims that Velveeta Shells & Cheese take longer than advertised to prepare.
Specifically, the lawsuit notes that the packaging on the microwavable, single-serve cups of macaroni and cheese states that the food can be “ready in 3 ½ minutes.”
The product’s instructions, for example, suggest that the cup should be microwaved for about three and a half minutes. However, Ramirez and her attorneys claim that this estimate does not account for the other steps needed to prepare for the pasta: removing the lid, cutting open a sauce packet, adding water, microwaving, and then stirring the product.
The necessity of these additional steps, Ramirez claims, makes it borderline impossible to prepare Velveeta Shells & Cheese in the advertised 3 ½ minutes.
“Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3½ minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the Product,” the lawsuit states. “However, the directions outlined above show that 3-and-a-half minutes is just the length of time to complete one of several steps. The label does not state the Product takes ‘3½ minutes to cook in the microwave,’ which would have been true.”
Kraft Heinz Foods has since issued a statement deriding the lawsuit as “frivolous.”
“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint,” a Kraft Heinz Foods Company spokesperson told CNN in a statement.
Somewhat interestingly, the lawsuit argues that Kraft is “unfairly profiting” from the sale of its Velveeta Shells & Cheese Cups, with Ramirez’s attorneys writing that consumers “expect” a company as large and well-known as Kraft to make honest, realistic claims.
In their filing, attorneys say that Kraft Heinz sells its Velveeta cups at “a substantial price premium,” using “misleading” marketing tactics.
The “ready in 3 ½ minutes” claim, the lawsuit states, “instantly catches the eye of all reasonable consumers.”
Ramirez, her attorneys say, “is like many consumers who seek to stretch their money as far as possible when buying groceries.”
But, because she could not actually prepare Velveeta Shell & Cheese cups in 3 ½ minutes, she “paid more for the Product than she would have paid and would not have purchased it or paid less had she known the truth.”
Ramirez is requesting $5 million in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages.
The lawsuit also asks that Kraft Heinz Foods “be ordered to cease its deceptive advertising” and “be made to engage in a corrective advertising campaign.”